The All of Us Research Program Engagement Core's overarching goal is to include participants as partners in the oversight, governance design and implementation to ensure it is inclusive, relevant and culturally sensitive to diverse communities and everyday people.
All of Us Research Program Engagement Core
Executive DirectorMeharry-Vanderbilt AllianceNashville
Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, MSCI, is the Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and Associate Professor of Medicine at both Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College. As Director of the Engagement Core of the All of Us Research Program (a component of the Precision Medicine Initiative), Dr. Wilkins oversees initiatives that meaningfully engage research participants in the governance, oversight, implementation and dissemination of the program. She has pioneered methods of stakeholder engagement that involve community members and patients in all stages of biomedical and health research.
Dr. Wilkins is currently a Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt-Miami-Meharry Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health, which focuses on decreasing disparities among African Americans and Latinos using precision medicine, and the Vanderbilt Recruitment Innovation Center, national center dedicated to enhancing recruitment and retention in clinical trials. She has pioneered methods of stakeholder engagement that involve community members and patients in research across the translational spectrum. Dr. Wilkins is also Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and leads programs in community engagement in the Meharry Clinical and Translation Research Center, the RCMI Program in Health Disparties Research at Meharry, and Mid-South Clinical Data Research Network.
Prior to her current role, Dr. Wilkins was an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, with secondary appointments in Psychiatry and Surgery (Public Health Sciences) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She served as Founding Director of the Center for Community Health and Partnerships in the Institute for Public Health, co-director of the Center for Community Engaged Research in the CTSA, and director of "Our Community, Our Health"- a collaborative program with Saint Louis University to disseminate culturally relevant health information and facilitate community-academic partnerships to address health disparities.
Dr. Wilkins earned a Bachelor of Science in microbiology (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a Doctor of Medicine from Howard University. She completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Duke University Medical Center and a Geriatric Medicine fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Following her medical training, Dr. Wilkins earned a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Washington University School of Medicine.
Dr. Laura Beskow is a Professor of Health Policy and Director of Research Ethics in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She received her BS in Nutrition from Iowa State University, her MPH with a concentration in Health Law from Boston University, and her PhD in Health Policy and Administration, with a minor in Epidemiology, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Beskow has substantial experience leading empirical bioethics research, with work focusing on ethics and policy issues in biomedical research, particularly human subjects issues in large-scale genomic and translational research. Nationally, she was a member of the Informed Consent Working Group for NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative All of Us Research Program, and currently serves on the Return of Value Committee and the Omics Committee. Dr. Beskow is a Professor of Health Policy and Director of Research Ethics in the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She received her BS in Nutrition from Iowa State University, her MPH with a concentration in Health Law from Boston University, and her PhD in Health Policy and Administration, with a minor in Epidemiology, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Beskow has substantial experience leading empirical bioethics research, with work focusing on ethics and policy issues in biomedical research, particularly human subjects issues in large-scale genomic and translational research. Nationally, she was a member of the Informed Consent Working Group for NIH’s Precision Medicine Initiative All of Us Research Program, and currently serves on the Return of Value Committee and the Omics Committee.
Dr. Elizabeth Cohn is currently serves as Rudin Professor of Community Health at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. She has previously been the executive director of the Center for Health Innovation at Adelphi University and the associate director of the community engagement core of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Science at Columbia University. In 2015, she was named a White House Champion of Change in Precision Medicine for her work on distributive justice and community engagement in large national precision medicine trials. Her current work focuses on the policy and practice issues at the intersection of precision and personalized medicine and health equity for underserved and underrepresented populations. She a nurse and nurse practitioner, and an alumni of the Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholars Program. Her policy publications, which have been featured on NPR, in the New York Times and Medscape describe the legislative compliance and practical utility of health policies, and the implications for populations and practitioners when guidelines and policy changes.
Karriem S. Watson, DHSc, MS, MPH is a Senior Research Scientist with the University of Illinois Cancer Center and the Director of Community Engaged Research for the UI Cancer Center at UIC and the Mile Square Health Center, a group of Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs) affiliated with the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. Dr. Watson is Multi PI and PI on multiple community-based cancer screening and navigation projects including an NCI R21 examining the impact of breast cancer screening navigation among African American women. His NCI U54 Pilot Project is examining the social networks of African American men and prostate cancer screening. Karriem also has a faculty appointment in the School of Public Health in Community Health Sciences. He is Co-Lead of the Community Engagement Core of the $17.4 Million NCI U54 Center called Chicago CHEC, he is also Co-Investigator on the NCI P20 with Governors State and Co-Investigator on the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative, now called the All of Us Research Program. Recently, Karriem was a key leader in the development of the newly funded health equity center to address structural violence in the NIMHD U54 Center of Excellence. His expertise in community-academic partnerships is also supported in his role as Board Chair of the nationally recognized Community Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH). Dr. Watson’s publications, research portfolio and list of presentations are all aligned around the common theme of health equity for underserved populations and community engagement.
Kathleen Brelsford, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine and faculty member of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Miami and an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from Northern Arizona University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology and MPH in Community and Family Health from the University of South Florida. Dr. Brelsford has more than 15 years of exp
erience designing and conducting ethnographic research and analyzing mixed-method data on a variety of bioethical and health-related topics, such as HPV vaccine decision-making; HIV risk behaviors; adolescent drug and alcohol use; and research use of clinical records. She is particularly interested in reproductive health and maternal and child health and has collaborated on studies conducted with diverse stakeholder groups throughout the United States and internationally. Dr. Brelsford is an expert on social science research methods, and enjoys developing innovative research designs using a wide array of methods, including participant observation, in-depth interviews, cognitive interviews, surveys, focus groups, structured elicitation techniques, deliberative dialogue, and social network analysis.
Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Dr. Brelsford was the Senior Social Scientist in the Program for Empirical Bioethics at Duke University, where she took a lead role in the design, conduct, and analysis of several NIH-funded studies on research recruitment, informed consent, and confidentiality protections in large-scale genomic research.
As a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine with the MVA, Dr. Fair is involved in PCORI-funded community engaged research on provider motivations to participate in the Mid-South Clinical Data Research Network. She also serves as the project manager of the Advancing the Science of Community Engaged Research conference and is a program manager of the Precision Medicine & Health Disparities Collaborative (PMHDC) Training & Mentoring Core, a U54 Center of Excellence award with MMC, VUMC and the University of Miami.
Previously, Fair was a faculty member at Meharry Medical College’s (MMC) Department of Surgery on a U54 Cancer Partnership/American Cancer Society project on abnormal mammography follow-up in medically underserved women. She also had a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor at the VUMC Department of Medicine and the Institute for Medicine and Public Health. From 2011-2017, she was a Research Services Consultant II at the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical Translational Research (VICTR) in Research Support Services.
Catherine M. Hammack, MA, JD is a lawyer and bioethicist with over ten years of experience in empirical research and analysis regarding a variety of legal, ethical, regulatory, and policy issues, specifically those in the biomedical arena. She joined the core faculty of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2017 and is an Associate in Health Policy in the Department of Health Policy, where she is integrally involved in the design, conduct, and analysis of empirical studies on legal, regulatory, and ethical issues of human subjects research, particularly with regard to informed consent. Her work has been published in international and national peer-reviewed science journals and law reviews and has been presented to large interdisciplinary audiences throughout the country.
Selena McCoy Carpenter, MEd is the Engagement Liaison for the Program. Prior to this role, Selena served as country director in Kenya for Mennonite Central Committee, a relief, peace, and development agency. As country director, she oversaw funding and provided technical support to local partner organizations in their work in agriculture, sustainable livelihoods, education, HIV prevention, and disaster response. Prior to her work in Kenya, Selena worked in Nashville as a Research Coordinator in Pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, in Pediatric Neurology and a NIH-funded pediatric obesity prevention study. Carpenter holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education, with a focus on behavioral disorders, and a Master’s in Education in Health Promotion and Behavior. Her earlier professional experience includes working in Haiti for a disease elimination project, grant writing and administration, and teaching.
As part of the All of Us Research Program Engagement Core, Juan Escarfuller, MA, MDiv works closely with participant partners. He assists in planning and coordination, and he contributes to the evaluative reporting aspects of the projects.
Escarfuller was formerly a Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Louis and Co-Chair of the National Advisory Council of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. His focus was on faith-based community organizing around social justice issues like racism, hunger and poverty.